Updated from 4:24 p.m. EST
The United Auto Workers union is in dealmaking mode, willing to negotiate buyouts to reduce the workforce at both
A deal would remove higher-paid workers as the companies seek to bring labor costs in line with those at U.S. plants operated by Japanese automakers, a condition of the $17.4 billion federal bailout package.
In the case of GM, the company will seek to reduce the employee count by offering buyouts to all U.S. hourly workers represented by the union, according to an automotive source.
GM hourly workers who retire are eligible for $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 car voucher, according to Automotive News.
Chrysler has made a similar offer to most of its U.S. hourly workers, said UAW and Chrysler spokespersons.
Chrysler said it decided to offer additional buyouts in December, with a January deadline for acceptance. "Due to the fact that many of the company's facilities had suspended production for extended periods in December and January, the program offerings are being rolled out now," Chrysler said. For most workers, the new deadline is Feb. 25.
Chrysler is offering up to $75,000 in cash and $25,000 to buy a vehicle to workers if they leave the company without retiring, while the incentive for early retirement is $50,000 cash and a $25,000 voucher,
, CEO Alan Mullaly noted on an earnings conference call Thursday that Ford is "in a different place and much further along" than the other two Detroit automakers, which are recipients in a $17.4 billion federal bailout package that requires cost and debt reduction. Nevertheless, he said, "from ongoing conversations we're having with all the stakeholders and the U.S. government, we will not be disadvantaged."
The UAW is negotiating an end to the jobs bank program at Ford, just as it is at the other two Detroit automakers.
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